Once Upon a Time Review: The Curse of a Coward

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"Skin Deep" dove into the history of one of my favorite Once Upon a Time characters: Rumplestiltskin.

I couldn't say his fairy tale ever interested me, but I'm mesmerized by the man/monster overall. He has repulsed and fascinated me since the beginning, sometimes both in the very same scene.

And in a grand twist this week, Rumple played Beast to Belle's Beauty. Who saw that coming?!?

Emilie de Ravin on Once Upon a Time

It's one of the things I've always loved about Once Upon a Time. It again took the familiar, turned it upside down and made it all the more interesting.

Rumple was the happiest we've ever seen him as he interacted with Belle. Unfortunately, he couldn't trust in her feelings for him and she called him out for it. Rumplestiltskin was a coward before he obtained his evil powers and Belle told him the title still held true as he turned her away. 

I was amazed that I could feel so much for this villain, as his pain was caused by his own weakness. He banished happiness from his home as it begged him to let it in. Sad, foolish and all too human.

If we saw moments of a warm and fuzzy Rumplestiltskin, then back in Storybrooke, we had a particularly surly Mr. Gold. It didn't take long to find out why. That wasn't just anyone's truck he was repossessing. That was Belle's father's and when he robbed Mr Gold's house, things got ugly.

It became obvious that Mr. Gold remembered the man from the fairy tale world. Thankfully, before he could beat him to death, Emma intervened and arrested Mr. Gold. If there was any question about how much Mr. Gold remembered, his conversation with Regina confirmed it.

He knows everything. Will that make him Regina's worst enemy? Or a valuable pawn?

Back in Storybrooke, it was Valentine's Day. Ashley (a.k.a. Cinderella) finally got a proposal from Sean, albeit not the most romantic of one. The guy only had a 20-minute break and all.

But the most disappointing couple of the night was David and Mary Margaret. If you've got to buy two Valentines for two lovers, you're in trouble.

If nothing else, giving the wrong card proved that David's an idiot and Mary Margaret needed to wake up. It's not all that complicated. If David wants to be with Mary Margaret, he needs to leave his wife - and until he does they have no story. Right now David's actions seem almost as cowardly as Rumplestiltskin's.

Side notes:

  • Being a huge fan of Game of Thrones, I loved that florist truck. Very funny.
  • The Evil Queen's outfit with the parasol, and the one she wore at the end with Rumple, were both stunning. Someone in wardrobe deserves an Emmy.
  • Every time they showed the broken tea cup my mind kept naming it Chip and imaging dance numbers involving inanimate objects. The Disney powers run deep.

So... what power will Regina possess now that she's confirmed Mr. Gold's real name and when will she use Belle's existence against him? When he finds out will he walk away, or be the hero? And back in the fairytale world, is Belle truly dead or alive? Talk about turning the story upside down. I can't wait to see what this magical show has planned next.


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (300 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.


I wish I knew where I could buy a parasol like the one Regina used. It's beautiful!!


GREATEST EPISODE TO DATE!!! And the best part about it was that it actually pushed the story forward. Rumpel always makes for an amazing episode.


I just hate how evil the queen is she is so irritating!! I jus want to kill her she tortured each n every person yet still eveything hoes as she wants i just hate it!!
I hope emma n mr gold does smethng n kill tht bitch!


This is such a great series; I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. Love the new takes on the old tales. I'm presuming Belle was still alive in FairyTale Land as when the curse was released 28 years prior everyone was transported to Storybrooke. Evil Queen was obviously just winding Rumple up even then. Surprised he just took her word for it. How is Emma along with true love going to break this curse? Interesting.


I would hope that there will be a sleeping beauty episode in the future, I'd like to see maleficent return at some point. Is she lurking in storybrooke somewhere?
Whoever was speculating how long they've been there, they 'left' the day Emma was born, so almost 30 years is my guess. Mr. Gold is going to end up helping Emma, or his favor is going to involve her finding belle for him. This story is not over by far.


Belle is Sleeping Beauty: Sleeping Beauty (French: La Belle au bois dormant, "The Beauty in the sleeping wood")


I think the comment about true love's kiss breaking any curse tells us how EMMA is supposed to break the curse. Remember, Henry keeps saying she is the only one that can break it. If she is the only one that can break it, and curses get broken by true love's kiss, then obviously EMMA has to be the one to kiss someone. I have a suspicion that she is to fall in love with the writer (who may be Rump's son.) That is what I think is going to happen.


So Beauty and the Beast wasn't a french fairytale after all but CLEARLY Australian... hahhaha. As an Aussie I even find that weird. I personally love the old fairytales and I loved how they made these old fairytales we all know seem to become possible. Beauty and the Beast never had any connection to the fairytale Rumpelstiltskin, Belle never married 'gaston' and her father was not by any means a king but a kooky inventor. I dunno.. they changed the fairytale before it even hit the 'real world'. On a positive note, I did enjoy hearing Rumpelstiltskin remembers his past and of course seeing Cinderella and her prince (which is oh so, so good looking). Would love to see them have a 'fairytale' wedding forcing something the shift/change in the real world.


This show is fantastic!! Loved the reference to a 'mermaid' problem from the queen!! lol But I do wonder when she said true love's kiss could break any curse why it hasn't worked for mary/david?? I look forward to each show!! and we can't have it all wrapped up then where would the show be...done! I think that makes a show, questions, because it brings the viewer back wanting answers!! :o) Great Job OUAT


Easily one of the best, if not THE best episode of the season! LOVED the twist with Rumple as the beast and all the Disney nods. The emphasis that EVERY curse can be broken and that true loves kiss will do it, hmmm! I personally think that Rumple will redeem himself in the end, though maybe in a "Gollum" sort of way. Honestly the best part, for me, of the entire episode, was the Queen's reference to a problem with a mermaid!!! I've been waiting for Ariel since this show began!!! YAY!!

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